Everyone is running, riding bikes, and enjoying the nice weather! The good news is that it's only going to get better. The months ahead will bring pool time, barbecues, and more hours spent outside than any other time of the year. Why not add a few things to your life that will help make your summer even better!
These projects aren't too difficult or expensive, and usually don't take too much time. One day or less should do it.
1. Firepit Surround- make your evenings even more fun with s'mores and great conversation around a natural heater. This can even last into fall and keep you warm when nights get cooler. It doesn't take up a lot of room, and it's up to you where you want to put it! Lowe's has great instructions to make this. Click here to get them.
2. Tire Swing- If you have kids, they will thank you for this one, and stay out of your hair for some time! If you don't this can be fun for all ages, as long as you have a strong enough tree branch!!! Forget the normal boring chair, swinging can be relaxing, so give this a try! This doesn't take too much effort or supplies. The directions are here.
3. Outdoor Bed / Sofa - You can relax outside this summer with an easy tutorial to create a nice place to take a break after mowing the lawn, running, or playing with the kids! Curl up with a good book, or meditate. Sounds amazing! All you'll need to make this a reality is 12 cinderblocks, 4 pieces of lumber, concrete adhesive and cushions. If you're on a budget you can probably save $ by making your own cushion. Go to the craft store for some fabric, stuffing and weather proofing product for fabric and there you go! Here's the directions.
4. Herb Garden Ideas - My favorite out of these is the flower boxes on the stair risers. So easy to do, and a nice way to plant! Here's the picture of it. There are other options if this one doesn't fit with your home outside. It's such a great resource to have herbs fresh in your backyard! Here's the other ideas.
Whatever you decide to do this summer, have fun with it!
Seasons are changing and I'm happy to announce that spring is here! It actually came a few weeks ago, but you might not have realized it depending on where you live. The time has come for tulips and easter egg hunts!
Spring reminds us of renewal, and for our home, that means it's time for spring cleaning! Oh joy!
This can become very overwhelming, because everything is a lot to clean! Here's the essentials that you might not think of in order to spruce up your home for a healthy environment in the coming months. Some of them seem too easy to be true!
1. Handles- We have a lot of germs on our hands, which means that everything we touch is filled with them. Any handles in your home (doorknobs, cabinet handles, even light switches) can be easily wiped down with antibacterial solution. That's probably the easiest cleaning for one of the dirtiest things!
2. Dusting- Use a damp rag, or some pledge if you're wiping down wood to get rid of all the dust that builds up so quickly! Light fixtures and ceiling fans are some places you might not consider cleaning, but it gets there too. Fans especially because when you turn them on it's like spreading fertilizer on your lawn- not good!
3. Window treatments- Things like blinds and curtains need to be cleaned. Luckily this is one that you can get away with doing only once or twice a year. It's not something I would think about doing at all, unless I saw dirt on the white blinds! Often if we don't see it we don't think to clean it. You can throw the curtains in the wash in most cases. Dirty blinds? Just wipe them down.
4. Walls- This one kind of makes me cringe because it seems like a lot of work. The only time I can really tell the walls are dirty is in the bathroom, all the moisture makes it obvious I guess. How do you clean walls you might ask? Use a soft brush attachment to vacuum them. Then wipe them down with a cloth-covered mop (spray with a dusting agent). Don't use too much water.
5. Vacuum- Hopefully this one you already do more than a couple times a year. If not then it's really time to do it, and probably get your carpets cleaned! This one is last because you should do it last. Any dust that fell on the floor, or crumbs from wiping off the counters can get sucked up this way. If you have molding vacuum that, and also your furniture (sofa, etc.). Especially if you have pets that you allow on there.
Prevent allergies by doing these spring cleaning jobs. If you have someone else clean, make sure they do these things that wouldn't normally be considered for every week or month.
Make sure to check back to the post about what cleaning supplies to keep on hand for what to use when cleaning this spring! Happy Easter!
Color is all around us every moment of our lives. It makes sense that every shade of every color influences us in some way. Often these influences are subconscious-we don't realize what's happening. Take a moment to think of your favorite color? Why does that color make you happy? What about it appeals to you? Does it hold emotional importance or memories? Answer the opposite questions for your least favorite color. If you aren't sure of the answer to any of these questions then you have an idea of how complex our relationship to color is.
This means that the colors in our home affect our emotions and lives everyday. If you're wondering what color to paint your bedroom, kitchen and den, listen up! Here's some suggestions for your next repaint:
1. The family room- Take note from restaurants, often you'll see yellow as shown in this picture below of a Panera Bread that we painted. Bright colors like yellow and orange, even bright greens and blues encourage communication so they would be best in an area that is welcoming and used for relationship building like the family room, or any space in the house you want to be a social area.
2. The kitchen/dining room- The most important thing aside from sleeping happens in these rooms. Preparing and eating meals is what sustains us and we want colors to help aid this process. Navy blue is a color that actually makes people less eager to communicate. This is ok knowing that meals are best eaten in silence. Avoid using gray, as it will lessen your appetite, while red can do just the opposite- but avoid if you're on a diet!
3. The bedroom- When thinking about what colors to put in each room the main focus is what the room is used for. The bedroom is where you want to be able to get a good night's sleep. You only want things that help promote that! Pastel blues and greens are ideal for this room of the house. They are soft and light for relaxation, not harsh.
4. The bathroom- white and warm hues are associated with cleanliness and people will respond best to these colors in your bathroom. It is also associated with tropical themes, anything water related, even blues or greens would be nice in the bathroom for a relaxed feel.
5. Office/ workspace- Productivity is key for this room, especially with the increase in people who work from home. Green is your best friend in this case. It helps with concentration. Hopefully you don't hate green, if so maybe try a lot of plants! Can't hurt anyway.
Bring more life into your home by adding these colors in a smart, thoughtful way. There are many more resources for color psychology. Check our Pinterest boards for a list of colors!
Clutter in your home can leave you feeling stressed and anxious. Let's face it, things pile up; there's Christmas gifts to put away, or papers that constantly end up in the same spot. Sometimes it feels like you're constantly trying to find a place for things.
The first suggestion in the organization process is to declutter. Get rid of the things that you don't REALLY need, haven't used in a long time, or don't want. This can be the most difficult part because everyone gets attached to things. The picture frame from your great grandmother, or the dress you wore for your graduation that no longer fits are some examples of ways that we justify hanging on to things that are cluttering our lives.
If you find this is the case with a lot of things, consider taking pictures of the items, which hopefully makes it easier to let go of them. Pictures are a great way to document and keep the memories associated with the item. Especially now with everything being digital, it takes up no actual space!
If you find that you're constantly accumulating things and making trips to donate them you can put the items in something until you get there, or designate an area of your house for these items. Only go there every 3 months or when the area gets full. This will give you a great visual of how much stuff you're getting rid of and help you to be a more conscious buyer- will it end up in the donation area in a year?
Now for the things that we really do need in our house...
For your clothes closet, here's a funny and very helpful resource from Buzzfeed. The only thing I would add that has helped me dramatically is to put your clothes in drawers on their side so you can see every single thing in there. Often if you can't see items of clothing, you're less likely to wear them.
Organize your kitchen with a trip to the dollar store. Wow, this is an amazing collection of ways to organize your kitchen. You might not need to go all out, so scroll through and see what you need. We all know what area of our kitchen is a mess and always aggravates us. Check it out here.
When you have kids, their stuff is often everywhere. Here's 11 great tips to organize their stuff.
Most importantly- don't get overwhelmed. Organizing can seem like a huge undertaking, so I'll stop here! Do the things that work for you and research new ways as well. When you find a system to keep the areas in your home organized it will be a peaceful place for everyone to live.
First thing to keep in mind- it's almost over! We're not there just yet; here's some ways you can squish the winter depression where it lies.
Exercise is known to be a big factor in mental health as many studies have shown. Many people attest to it, and maybe you have experienced the pick-me-up post workout. Twenty minutes a day would be ideal, but get in whatever you can; run (or walk) up and down the stairs five times. Anything makes a difference, and you don't even have to leave the home. If you're into the fitness routine consider a home gym, you'll save on the monthly fee to go to one! I don't have to tell you about he convenience either! There are many online videos you can do as well.
Food impacts every aspect of our life so it's clear that we need to think about the choices we're making when eating. Cut out processed and refined foods completely. Avoid eating after the sun sets, and if you must have a very small meal. Drink extra water. You might consider taking a Vitamin D supplement because deficiencies are linked with illness like depression. Always consult a healthcare provider when considering your diet and supplement intake.
Purpose is the key! Keep busy and the next 6 weeks will be over before you know it. The more time that you have to think about the weather and external conditions the more bummed you can become. Our thoughts are very powerful so don't let yourself get caught up in negative ideas- and avoid those people who always complain about the weather. If someone complains to you make a practice out of responding with something positive like, "spring is right around the corner" or "I like how the nights aren't as dark with the reflection of the moon on the snow." Whatever you can find that is good, focus on it.
Meditation is a way that you can work on getting rid of those pesky thoughts, or just allow your mind some quiet time. Maybe you have a relaxing spot in your home, and if not that's a fun project you can do while it snows outside. There are a lot of studies about the power of meditation, but I'd suggest trying it for yourself to see what happens!
Change is what we're waiting for. There's been so many months of the same cold, cloudy, snowy pattern. The weather is out of your control, but your home isn't! We have two environments- outside and inside. Take this time to look over the areas in your home that would make you happy to reinvent. A new paint color for your family room or bedroom could be just what you need to help your mood. Colors evoke certain emotions and feelings-refer to our social media posts to learn what!
Try some of these ideas if winter is getting you down or share with us how do you beat the winter blues?
Do you ever go to the store and get overwhelmed by all the options?! How do you know what's best? What is the least harmful to your skin and environment? Often what we purchase is influenced by recommendations from others; your friend posts a product on his wall that he swears by, or maybe you use a hand soap at someone's home that is unlike any other.
Here are some suggestions for household items you want to have on hand! I'm talking about items that I've found to be the best without breaking the bank!
If you're reading this than you've probably been to Bath & Body Works- I don't know anyone who hasn't. At least you've walked by it in the mall. I don't know any of their products that are advertised as eco-friendly or organic, yet their prices reflect that. This is why I'm not suggesting a lot of commonly known products!
1.Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day - Specifically their hand soap- it's amazing! It smells fantastic, probably because they are made from essential oils. Their products are earth-friendly, cruelty-free and not tested on animals! They have an array of items including cleaning products and air fresheners that really do the job. You can find items at Giant grocery store in our area, or other places like Wegmans. Or you can buy from their website.
2. Dr. Bronner's Soaps - These products are certified fair trade and organic. I've used their castile liquid soaps as a body wash. They smell nice and your skin is your largest organ so it's best to use this kind of cleaner to make sure you're not absorbing toxic chemicals into your body! They do have other items to try like lotions, all purpose cleaner and shave gels. You can purchase from their website, or find the soaps at the Health Cupboard on 5th st.
3. Mostenbocker's Lift Off - This is a family company that has a solution for your mess. They have tape, latex paint, markers, pens & ink and stain removers. I've used the tape remover which works on tape, gum & wax and it works better than anything else I tried! If you have children this will be a helpful item in your home! Their products are water-based, biodegradable, and have low or no–VOC’s! They have an assortment of other products as well. You can purchase these on their website, or at Home Depot of Lowe's.
4. Scrub Daddy (or pig version)- This versatile sponge you might've seen on Shark Tank. This is the best sponge that I've ever used to remove baked on foods. It stays firm in cool water, and softens in hot water. You can use it to do the dishes, clean the bathroom, or wash the car to name a few. It won't scratch stainless-steel.
Give these products a try next time you're at the store, they will help make your life easier and you'll be happier for it! Let me know what you think when you try them!
Bathroom Remodeling Trends to Follow
The bathroom is one of those rooms in the home that eventually needs to be remodeled. We've all been in some pretty awesome remodeled bathrooms. There are some great trends for redesigning the second most important room in the home. Here are some ideas to get started with giving the bathroom a new look.
Glass tile- This can set the tone for the bathroom, if using blues or greens together this can portray an underwater or jungle feel. It's perfect if you're going for the trendy new nature theme for your home. If the whole wall is covered it gives a submerged feel, which is cool especially when you're relaxing in the shower. Not sure about going all the way? Try doing only half the wall, or a border style in the middle or top of the wall.
Subway tile- This might come as a surprise, but subway tile is in! This might be best with a vintage-style bathroom. This might work best if the rest of your home caters to that theme as well. Use appropriate fixtures to compliment that style.
In-floor heating- By far my favorite suggestion for remodeling the bathroom. No more ice cold tile floors! This is a cost effective heating method as well. What more could you ask for?
Designer lighting- Fancy bathroom? Why not! It looks really cool and can bring up the appeal of the room. If you're not able to do the full remodel this might be enough to bring new life into the room.
Electronics- TV or stereo in the bathroom? This might be the most popular room in the house in no time! There's nothing more modern or trendy than having these features added to your bathroom.
Whatever you decide to do, make sure the bathroom is still practical and most importantly, functional! Check out our Pinterest page for more bathroom ideas!
Aromatherapy uses in your Home
There are so many uses for essential oils, start taking advantage of them to create a healthy home! Cleaners often have harsh chemicals; if you can use natural substitutes, it's worth it!
Here are some DIY tips for situations you might face in your home.
Aromatherapy: How Smell Impacts you
Did you know that smell is the strongest of the senses? Most of the time we buy the air freshener based on what is most appealing. It's helpful to know what they are doing to us physically.
When you smell essential oils it activates your hypothalamus, sending messages to places in your body. Smells can affect your blood pressure, digestion and state of mind. They can even relieve pain anxiety and depression, to name a few.
Here's a couple suggestions of essentials oils to have around the house for a healthy environment.
Lemon- It has antiviral and antibacterial properties which can ward off sore throats and colds. It boosts the immune system and improves circulation. The kitchen and all common areas are perfect to use this scent in.
Lavender- We all know this time of year can be very stressful. Lavender can soothe the nerves and relieve stress? If you feel a headache or migraine coming on try smelling some on a cotton ball. Try this scent for the bedrooms
Cinnamon- A common herb this time of year, it helps you concentrate and energizes your mind. This would be a great scent for your home office.
Be careful what you buy; it's best to make your own scents for the home. In 2007 a study by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) found after testing 14 common air fresheners 12 contain phthalates, which may affect hormones and reproductive development, especially in babies. Febreze Air Effects or Renuzit Subtle Effects do not contain detectable levels of phthalates. Instead of purchasing air fresheners, do a natural mixture of essential oil with water in a spray bottle.
Try them to create a relaxed, energized haven for the winter season!
Decorating Trends for 2015
Trends are always changing, and it’s a fun way to keep things fresh and new. A couple years ago kitchen remodeling was the big thing. What are the trends of today? 2015 is only a few months away so why not get a jump start on the big things that everyone will be doing next year?
Whether you’re serious about revamping your place, or just curious what’s in store for home decor of the future, you’ll love these first-look ideas.
Bright seems to be the thing. Blues, oranges...anything that makes a statement.
“I'm seeing a lot of deep rich blues with a glossy finish—often paired with white for a surprisingly modern twist on a classic.” -Susanna Salk
Think 60s. There’s a lot of olive green being thrown around as well as blue-green combinations.
“Gray is definitely the hottest neutral these days—it sets the perfect backdrop.” - Jeff Andrews
Here’s some examples.
It’s clear, after going through many sites and images that we’re in a time where decorators are embracing old and new. We’ve all heard the expression, “everything comes back” referred to styles, and it’s true.
Large prints and floral fabrics are making a comeback. Soft gold and brass are becoming more common again.
According to interior decorator, Cheryl Hucks, “Chinoiserie, Chinese influenced designs, and Shagreen, shark and stingray skin covered furniture and accessories” are two of the latest trends for 2015.
Bringing the outdoors in is a trend to follow. Not sure what I’m talking about? Try a poster frame bed that looks like tree branches. Not ready for new furniture? It can be as easy as buying more house plants. Or what about bringing your outdoor furniture in? What?! You might be thinking, but it’s a real trend. Dress it up and make it cozy for the indoors with a plush throw, or animal print.
Lastly are window treatment trends, (if you’re interested in something I didn’t talk about feel free to leave a comment and I’ll address it).
Layering curtains is in. No more dull top treatments, or one panels. Roman shades are a nice way to go and still give you a thumbs up from decorators.
This article has great examples to give you visual inspiration!
Remember, doing these things should be a fun, feel-good activity. It’s refreshing in the winter when things can get dull. You’ll definitely want to check out our Pinterest page for a ton more inspiration!
Jessica Walsh is a graduate of Penn State University with a minor in English. While in college she contributed to the literary journal, newspaper and yearbook. She was a journalist for Voices and BCTV.org. She continues to write her own blog as well as stories and articles.
Blog writer Jessica Walsh is a graduate of Penn State University with a minor in English. While in college she contributed to the literary journal, newspaper and yearbook. She was a journalist for Voices and BCTV.org. She continues to write her own blog as well as stories and articles.